Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/274

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fect satisfaction, it would doubtless laugh at justice. The divine, to exercise suasion, must use an argumentum ad hominem; reason must justify itself to the heart. But perfect satisfaction is what an irresponsible impulse can never hope for: all other impulses, though absent perhaps from the mind, are none the less present in nature and have possession of the field through their physical basis. They offer effectual resistance to a reckless intruder. To disregard them is therefore to gain nothing: reason, far from creating the partial renunciation and proportionate sacrifices which it imposes, really minimises them by making them voluntary and fruitful. The ideal, which may seem to wear so severe a frown, really fosters all possible pleasures; what it retrenches is nothing to what blind forces and natural catastrophes would otherwise cut off; while it sweetens what it sanctions, adding to spontaneous enjoyments a sense of moral security and an intellectual light.

Those who are guided only by an irrational conscience can hardly understand what a good life would be. Their Utopias have to be supernatural in order that the irresponsible rules which they call morality may lead by miracle to happy results. But such a magical and undeserved happiness, if it were possible, would be unsavoury: only one phase of human nature would be satisfied by it, and so impoverished an ideal cannot really attract the will. For